Monday, January 13, 2020

Joyful Expressions

Have you ever noticed the joyful expressions throughout the Christmas story, as told in Luke 1 and Luke 2? Through fresh eyes as I reread this familiar passage this past Christmas, joyful feelings resonated with me.




Angel Gabriel alighted, initiating the Christmas Story.
He visited Zecharias, the priest in the temple.
Told him he would have a son who would be filled with the Holy Spirit.
"Give me proof, Gabriel," said Zecharias, "for my wife, and I are very old."
"I stand in the presence of God sent to you with this good news."
But proof you'll have; "You won't say another word until the child is born."
Noticeably mute, Zecharias leaves the temple.
He and Elisabeth create the baby Gabriel spoke of
Elisabeth rejoices for the Lord has taken away my reproach.

Six months later
Gabriel visits Mary, highly favored is she.
Mary wonders, what sort of greeting is this? Is Gabriel speaking to me?
"Fear not, you have found favor with God; you will bear the Savior of the World."
Mary questioned, "Why me?"
Gabriel said, "Why not? And your cousin Elisabeth is also pregnant."
Mary believed and said, "Behold, I am your servant; let it be."

Mary visits Elisabeth, who is six months pregnant.
As they see each other, Elisabeth's baby moves
Elisabeth  knows Mary is special and rejoices when she sees her
Elisabeth encourages Mary saying, "Blessed art thou among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Blessed is she that believed."
In response, Mary magnifies the Lord - "My soul does magnify the Lord....all generations shall call me blessed."

Three months later
Elisabeth gives birth, and her neighbors and cousins rejoice with her.

Eight days later
The child is circumcised and named
Elisabeth knows what her son's name should be
The family goes back and forth over traditional names
Then, they call him John following Gabriel's claim.
Zacharias no longer silent speaks and praises God
"Blessed be the God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people."

Six months later
The Savior is born.
Gabriel visits the shepherds with an angelic announcement
Joined by a heavenly chorus singing "Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth goodwill towards men."
As they marveled at what they saw, the shepherds said, "Let's go to Bethlehem."
When they arrived, the shepherds found Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus.
With awestruck wonder, they worship Him.
Mary listens, treasuring their words, and pondering them in her heart.
The shepherds return to the hills praising God, "How great thou art!"

Forty-one days later
Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus trek to the temple
As is custom, to offer a sacrifice
Devout and patient Simeon had waited for this time
For the Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon when he would die
As the family enters the temple, Jesus is placed in Simeon's hands
Simeon declares, "My eyes have seen the Salvation of the Lord, now I can die in peace."
Again awestruck, Joseph and Mary marvel at Simeon's joy
Faithful Anna, the prophetess who never left the temple, prophesies about Mary's baby boy.
After Simeon's declaration, she thanks the Lord and spoke of Jesus.
Her prophecy has come to pass.
Jesus was now part of her vernacular and also ours at last.

This is Christmas, in spurts of time punctuated by joyful declarations of Jesus' birth. Gabriel was a busy angel speaking to Zecharias, Mary, and the shepherds. Zecharias wanted proof, while Mary accepted her heavenly assignment. The time was ripe for the Messiah since the Israelites longed for a Messiah after their captivity. Then Jesus was born.

Spurts of time provided constant reminders of His truth, His fulfillment, and, ultimately, His birth. Today we still have spurts of time filled with constant reminders of the veracity of Jesus. As we are filled with his Spirit, may we proclaim his joyous birth.

Have you ever noticed these spurts of time in the Christmas story? How do you respond when God speaks to you? 


--Nylse

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10 comments:

  1. WHEN JESUS SPEAKS TO ME IN THE SPIRIT I MAKE SURE IT IS HIM AND NOT MY THINKING THEN I DO WHAT I AM TOLD TO DO. SOME TIME I WAIT BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE A STUMBLING BLOCK WITH MY THINKING .BLESSINGS TO ALL.

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  2. Yes, I've noticed these sweet reminders too. God is always reminding us of the beautiful truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. We just need to pay attention.

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  3. Nylse, I sometimes wonder if I am hearing God speak to me or my own voice echoing in my head. It is hard to figure out. How can we be sure? It's a question I have been thinking about a lot lately.

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  4. I often wish that God would speak to me in audible and clear ways like he did to some of the people in the Bible. But then when I see how afraid they usually were, I think twice about it. ha. I'm thankful God does still speak to us though, just maybe a little differently and requiring a little more discernment.

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  5. When God speaks to me, usually through His Word, as my husband says, it's either "amen" or "oh, me." When it's the latter, it's usually because I haven't been completely surrendered to Him in some area.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this week at the #trafficjamweekend Linky Party - Happy New Year

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  7. I normally test the spirit of what's being said for confirmation.
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  8. I <3 this post. I need to spend more time listening for Jesus voice.

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  9. I love this recap from the lives of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary and more. Just slowing down, thinking about it brings me joy, too. I love Mary's trust and obedience and her voicing of it. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #HeartEncouragement this week!

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